Why I'm Embracing Minimalism

Monday, July 17, 2017


Growing up, I lived in the same house.  In 18 years I never head to deal with packing up everything I own and moving.  Because of this, I never really felt the need to regularly go through my things and "purge".  When I moved down to VA for college I started realizing how much stuff I'd held on to, unnecessarily.   I donated a few boxes/bags to good will and purple heart, but since a good bit of my stuff was staying with my parents I still kept way too much useless crap.

Shortly after moving back from college I moved in with some friends and then about four months after that, I moved in with Josh and some other friends to the house in the country.  It was then that I began to realize just how much crap I really had and what a pain in the ass it was.  I started purging stuff during these moves, and then again when we moved into the townhouse, and again both before and after our move here to Fort Drum.

The Army and looming moves was definitely a huge motivator, but there are a few other factors that went into my decision to embrace minimalism.  When my Grandfather passed away back in 2007, my Granny wanted to move into a smaller place closer to family.  It took her, my Dad, uncle, and aunt FIVE YEARS to go through all of their stuff!  From that, you'd probably think their house was cluttered, but it wasn't, not even a little bit.   They had a huge basement, a 2 car garage, a detached 2 car garage with an upstairs storage area, and a large attic.  All this was filled with tools, the worlds most insane gun collection, and God only knows what else.  All things that they never used and a lot of which sat forgotten for years.

Then we have another family member (by marriage) ... Hoarder is an understatement.  I'm going to keep it simple to stop myself from going on a major rant.  Their house is 4,200 square feet plus a three level detached garage, and you couldn't move in that place if you tried.  Literal floor to ceiling stuff.  It's insane.  I know I'd never be like that, but damn if it isn't a motivator to minimize!

I watched the documentary, "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things" a few months ago and I was really intrigued by the idea.  I knew I'd never be quite as minimalist as the guys on the documentary, but I still liked the idea of having less stuff and consuming less.  I didn't do much about it at the time, but the documentary stuck with me.

Once I started listening to Dave Ramsey's podcasts, I decided I really liked listening to podcasts and I needed another one to listen to.  I began listening to the Minimalists (the guys from the documentary) a few weeks later.   The more I listened, the more I realized that minimalism really does align with my values (something they reference a lot on the podcast) and am really motivated to live a more minimalist lifestyle.

I began de-cluttering a few months ago and it feels great!  I can't wait to see where this minimalism journey takes me!

Rideau Canal: Ottawa, Canada

Thursday, July 13, 2017


We passed the Canal a few times during our day since it is right next to Parliament Hill.  They offer boat rides through the canal, which we didn't do because of time and the weather wasn't that great.  We did enjoy stopping and watching this smaller boat go through.  It was cool to see the water levels changing and the gates opening. 

Next time I am in Ottawa, I'd love to take one of the boat rides!  I've never been through a canal like this so it would definitely be an interesting experience.  Part of the canal is also open in the winter as a skateway (ice rink)!  I am really hoping to get to Ottawa during Winterlude this upcoming season, and skate on the Canal.









Byward Market: Ottawa, Canada

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Byward Market was by far my favorite part of Ottawa!  We had actually planned to stop here first to eat lunch but we had a hard time finding it for some reason and we were starving.  I'm sort of glad we didn't find it earlier because we probably would have just stayed here all day!   There are so many great looking bars and restaurants we wanted to try.  While we were walking around, Heather spotted this place called BeaverTails and said it looked good.  I was all about it once I saw that it was something sweet.  I didn't know until later that BeaverTails are a thing in Canada.   We both got Nutella and Banana BeaverTails, sat at a nearby table and enjoyed the guitar being played right behind us.   We probably sat there for a good 30 minutes before we had to head back to Parliament Hill for our Peace Tower tour.

Next time I find my self in Ottawa, I plan to head straight to the market and spend as much time exploring that area as possible.  I'd highly recommend heading to this area for lunch or a drink .... or a BeaverTail.








Art and Church: Ottawa, Canada

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


After viewing the Parliament Building from Major's Hill Park, headed towards this cool looking glass building.  We had no idea what it was, but we intended to find out!  Much to Heather's delight, the building ended up being the National Gallery of Canada.  She's an art person but I am not so I'm the one who suggested going in (because this trip was not all about me ;)), it ended up being about $9 per person in American dollars ($15 in Canadian) so we decided to look around.  We looked around the Modern Art and Renaissance art areas (neither of us was that interested in the Canadian Native Art).   The building was absolutely beautiful and as much as I don't like art museums, I didn't mind this one.

Right across the street from the Gallery was Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.  I'm not a particularly religious person, but I love going into older churches because they're always gorgeous, and this one did not disappoint!  It was absolutely gorgeous and there was hardly anyone in there!

I'd recommend a visit to both places if you are in Ottawa.  I'm not an art person but I love some cool looking buildings so even if you don't go inside, definitely take a short walk to see the Gallery and definitely go into the church, it's obviously free and definitely worth checking out. 














Parliment Hill: Ottawa, Canada

Monday, July 10, 2017


When my friend Heather told me she was coming to visit one of the first things I asked was if she wanted to go to Canada while she was here.  Of course, her answer was yes.   So, I started looking at 3 cities that I knew were relatively close to me and could be a day trip.  The first was Montreal which, if Josh was home and able to watch Bolt, we probably would have done.  However, I had no one to watch him and I knew Heather wouldn't want to be in the car that long again after driving 6 hours.  So, unless we could stay overnight it wouldn't be worth it.  Next was Kingston which is a short hour-ish drive from me.  We didn't go with Kingston because I couldn't find much about it online so I wasn't sure if it would be worth visiting.  So, that left Ottawa.  Ottawa is the capitol of Canada and has the beautiful Parliament building which was enough to convince us.  And it was a good distance compromise at 2 hours from me.   I'm so happy with that choice!  I really enjoyed Ottawa and can't wait to go back and do some more exploring.

Our first stop in Ottawa was Nate's Deli for lunch.  We ended up there because it looked good and we were starving!  We ended up having a pretty good meal, so I can't complain.   After eating, we headed straight to Parliament Hill to see the beautiful Parliament Building.  We were a little disappointed when we walked up and there was a huge stage being built right in front of the building.  Canada's 150th anniversary was on July 1st so they were setting up for that all over the city.  We also made the mistake of not getting tickets for a tour beforehand, so we didn't get to tour the Parliament Building.  We were able to get tickets to go up to the Peace Tower and see Ottawa from above, but our tickets were not until 3 to 4pm (we were allowed to go at any time during that hour).

The first thing we did after securing our Peace Tower tickets was to walk over to Major's Hill Park to get a great view of the back of the Parliament Building, which is just beautiful! After exploring Ottawa (which I'll be writing about over the next few days), we went back to the Parliament building around 3:30pm for our tour.  The tour of the Peace Tower isn't really much of a tour.  You go up a few floors by stairs, then to an elevator that takes you to the top of the tower.  On the ride up, the attendant gives a little bit of information about the tower, then lets you off to explore on your own.   Although there isn't much to this tour, I really enjoyed seeing Ottawa from above and it's definitely worth a visit.

For my next visit to Ottawa, I'll be sure to secure tickets to tour the rest of the building way ahead of time!  What we saw on our journey up to the Peace Tower was beautiful so I can't imagine what the rest of it looks like!




















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